A Senate bill seeking to restore net neutrality now has upwards of 40 co-sponsors.
Democrats made the announcement Tuesday, just after another dozen senators had signed onto the effort. According to The Hill, the bill now has enough support to clear a procedural threshold and be fast-tracked toward a floor vote.
Nevertheless, with Republicans still controlling the Senate, it appears unlikely the endeavor will succeed. But analysts from The Hill speculate that liberals might see some political value in forcing their conservative counterparts to take a clear stand on net neutrality – a notion and legal framework that’s overwhelmingly popular among members of the public.
Republicans in the Federal Communications Commission were responsible for net neutrality being rescinded; their remaining colleagues in the Senate aren’t liable to break ranks in favor of popular opinion.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) made the announcement alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday.
“Millennials were born into a world with a free and open internet,” Schumer said. “It’s as integral to their daily lives as a morning cup of coffee. So when the administration rips it from their hands and hands it over to the big ISPs on a silver platter, millennials will know that Republicans were responsible — you can bet Democrats are going to make sure of that.”
The bill, if turned into law, would “use authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block the FCC’s repeal from going into effect,” writes The Hill.
Even if every Democrat were to stand aboard with the effort, at least two Republicans would have to defect for the legislation to pass.
Ajit Pai’s repeal of net neutrality last month means that internet service providers (ISPs) will be granted greater control over their customers’ broadband and data connections. Hypothetically, companies like Comcast or Verizon could throttle speeds on websites they deem undesirable, while encouraging customers to visit paid “fast-lane” domains.
Silicon Valley, too, is stepping up to take on net neutrality’s repeal. According to The New York Post, the Internet Association – which represents the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Google and Netflix – is gearing up to file a suit against the Federal Communications Commission and Pai’s decision. Michael Beckerman, head of the IA, said scrapping the law “defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open Internet.”
And during Tuesday’s announcement, Sen. Markey said, “There will be a political price to pay for those who are on the wrong side of history.”